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Ag Economy Barometer declines, Bernie Sanders proposes breaking up ag monopolies and researchers flee ERS.

Janet Kubat Willette, E-Content Editor

May 10, 2019

2 Min Read

Missed some ag news this week? Here are seven agricultural stories from this week.

1. The Ag Economy Barometer declined 18 points in April, the fourth largest one-month decline in the barometer since data collection began in October 2015. Producers appear to be tightening their belts, with 74% saying now is a bad time to make large investments. Just more than half, 56%, said they expect their farms’ financial performance in 2019 to be about the same as in 2018. – Farm Futures

2. A research project in North Dakota aims to explore the boundaries of autonomous farming. The Grand Farm Initiative aims to establish an agricultural operation that is farmed, maintained and managed by machines by 2025. – West Fargo Pioneer

3. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposed a plan that includes breaking up existing agricultural monopolies and placing a moratorium on future mergers by big agriculture companies. He would also ban “vertically integrated” agribusinesses. He advocates greater government involvement in setting price controls and managing supply and demand of agricultural commodities. – Minnesota Public Radio News

4. Fund managers are struggling to model how extreme weather events will affect commodity prices and spending by farmers on equipment or seeds. – Reuters

5. Current and former Economic Research Service employees say Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue isn’t happy with some ERS findings, particularly those showing how farmers have been financially harmed by President Trump’s trade feuds and the Republican tax code rewrite. – Politico

6. North Dakota, Texas, South Dakota and Kansas are expected to increase acres planted to sunflowers this year. Overall, U.S. sunflower acres are expected to increase 48,000 acres over last year. – Dakota Farmer

7. Debbie Brubaker, a Franklin County, Virginia, beef and dairy farmer, received the 2019 Agriculture Advocate Award by the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization and the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. The award recognizes her dedication to advancing agricultural literacy in her community. – Augusta Free Press

And your bonus

Barn Believers provides grants to qualifying nonprofit groups undertaking projects to save barns in Michigan. The project was launched last year in Battle Creek, Michigan. – Michigan Farmer

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